There’s a reason that “rust bucket” has become a slang term for an old or beat-up car. Rust is unsightly, and once you get a spot of rust on your car, it can spread and grow like mold. Even a small rust spot – where your car got scratched, or a chip of paint was knocked off, for example – can soon become a big problem.
If you have a spiffy new car and full coverage insurance, you might be willing to pay body-shop prices to fix small dings or chips and the rust that follows them. If your car is older or your insurance less generous, you might not feel the expense is worth it.
You don’t have to let your car become a rust bucket, though. There’s good news – with a few dollars, a little patience, and some elbow grease, you can repair minor rust spots on your car yourself. Here’s what to do:
Clean the area
Use soap and water to clean the damaged spot and the area around it. This gets rid of any grease or oil, plus ensures that there are no big pieces of grit or other debris that might damage your paint worse than it already has been. Dry the area thoroughly once you’ve cleaned it.
Remove the rust
Here’s where the sandpaper and elbow grease come in. With 150-grit paper, gently begin sanding away the worst of the rust. 150-grit is very coarse and will seriously scratch the intact paintwork, so try not to sand more than a few millimeters around the rust. Have patience and take your time; sand fairly lightly, as the harder you sand the more time you’ll have to spend smoothing the area afterward. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the dust generated by sanding.
When you’ve removed the worst of the rust, it’s time to start using 200-grit sandpaper. The coarse sanding you just did leaves a very rough surface, and this step is intended to smooth that out plus remove any stubborn remaining rust. Any specks of rust left behind will just start the rusting process all over again, so you want to make sure you’ve sanded it all down to the bare metal.
You also need to smooth and level the transition between the former rust spot and the remaining paint, so run your fingers over the area to test its smoothness. If you can feel an edge where the rusted area ends and the paint begins, sand it until you can’t feel an edge.
The final sanding is to make the area as smooth as possible and to get rid of any tiny scratches left by the coarser sandpapers. Use 300-grit sandpaper until the metal feels as smooth as glass under your fingertips.
Prime the area
Now you’re ready for primer. Use painter’s tape and newspaper to tape off the area around the repair and protect the rest of your paint. Wipe the area with a dry cloth to remove any dust, then spray a thin coat of primer over the repair and let it dry thoroughly. Repeat till you have three coats.
Make sure you match your paint shade to your car’s exterior paint and apply three coats of paint over the primer. It took a lot of work, but your car should now look as good as new!
At Simply Autos, we know how much you love your car. But if your ride really has become a “rust bucket,” it just might be time to trade it in on a newer one. If you’re looking for used cars in Las Vegas, visit us at SimplyAutos.com!